Developer ends bid to trademark foe's name

October 13, 2006|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,SUN REPORTER


An article in yesterday's editions might have created an erroneous impression regarding an Allegany County Circuit Court judge's order concerning Terrapin Run, a proposed development in Western Maryland.

The judge ordered the county Board of Zoning Appeals to reconsider Terrapin Run, using a tougher standard for deciding whether the project is consistent with the county's comprehensive plan.

Opponents of the project have appealed, saying the judge did not insist on a tough enough standard.

The developer seeking to build 4,300 homes near a state forest in Western Maryland has withdrawn its bid to trademark the name of the citizens group opposing the project.

Craig Leonard, development director for the project, Terrapin Run, said yesterday that news media publicity about the filing for the exclusive legal right to use the citizens group's name had accomplished the developer's goal of promoting public discussion about what constitutes Smart Growth for Allegany County.

PDC Inc., the Columbia-based developer seeking to build homes, a shopping plaza and riding and hiking trails along Scenic U.S. 40 by Green Ridge State Forest, applied in June for the exclusive legal right to five names, including Citizens for Smart Growth in Allegany County.

The company also sought trademarks on Reality Check, a broad-based, statewide planning exercise this year, and on Allegany by Design, a community group formed after that exercise.

"We did this to clarify that these groups pretend to be community groups, but they specifically exclude anybody who's not anti-growth," Leonard said.

Leaders of Citizens for Smart Growth accused the developer of trying to stifle debate or confuse the public.

"I think they realized that was kind of a futile attempt," group spokesman Dale Sams said of PDC's attempt to claim his group's name.

Leonard said the company abandoned all but one of its applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in mid-September, a few weeks after The Sun and Allegany County media reported on them. The only application pending is for exclusive rights to the development's name.

Leonard said the publicity cast a spotlight on the opposition. "It forced these opposition groups to come out and disclose they're anti-growth," he said.

Sams said the publicity attracted more support for his group.

The development's approval by the county Board of Zoning Appeals was overturned this year in Circuit Court and is on appeal.

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